You are here

Conducting Empirical Analysis

Conducting Empirical Analysis
Public Opinion in Action

First Edition

December 2010 | 192 pages | CQ Press
Conducting Empirical Analysis is an ideal way to marry substance with skills, getting students to experience the joy of discovery firsthand. Through straightforward instruction and guided examples, Clawson and Oxley show students how to conduct web-based data analysis using UC Berkeley’s Survey Documentation and Analysis (available online for free) to answer questions about party identification or attitude stability, and to measure racial prejudice and political knowledge. Exercises cover a range of data collection techniques, survey research, and statistical analyses, ramping up from multiple-choice and open-ended questions to mini-research projects. An instructor’s guide with solutions is available for adopters.

Tables and Figures
Introduction to Conducting Empirical Analysis
Using SDA Web-based Software  
Conclusion and Looking Ahead  
Political Socialization
Parental Socialization  
Adult Socialization  
For Further Exploration: Life Cycle Effects  
Mini-Research Project  
Mass Media
Where Do Citizens Get Their News?  
Newspaper Readership  
For Further Exploration: Evaluations of the News Media  
Mini-Research Project  
Attitude Stability and Attitude Change
Attitude Change, Partisanship, and Exposure to Newspapers  
Collective Public Opinion: Attitude Stability or Attitude Change?  
For Further Exploration: Issue Attitude Stability or Change?  
Mini-Research Project  
Political Ideology
Citizen Ideology  
Sex Differences in Ideology  
Ideology and Government Spending  
For Further Exploration: More on Ideology and Issue Positions  
Mini-Research Project  
Pluralistic Roots of Public Opinion
Racial Attitudes  
For Further Exploration: Racial Prejudice Over Time  
For Further Exploration: Race and Racial Prejudice  
Mini-Research Project  
Political Knowledge
Measuring Political Knowledge  
Political Knowledge and Gender  
Political Knowledge and Age  
Political Knowledge and Education  
For Further Exploration: Examining Political Knowledge  
Mini-Research Project  
Support for Civil Liberties
Public Support for Free Expression  
Contextual Effects on Tolerance  
For Further Exploration: GSS Tolerance Measures  
Mini-Research Project  
Support for Civil Rights
Attitudes toward Interracial Marriage  
Attitudes toward Gay Marriage  
For Further Exploration: Ideology and Attitudes toward Gay Marriage  
For Further Exploration: Examining Attitudes toward Gay Marriage  
Mini-Research Project  
Trust in Government and Social Capital
Trust in Government  
Social Capital  
For Further Exploration: Measures of Political Trust  
Mini-Research Project  
Impact of Public Opinion on Policy
Income Variation in Policy Opinions  
Appealing to the Public  
Mini-Research Projects  
Public Opinion and the 2008 Election
Race, Gender, and Candidate Evaluation  
Racial Resentment and the Vote  
For Further Exploration: The Iraq War and the Vote  
Mini-Research Project  
Reference Appendix
The SDA Archive  
The SDA Main Page  
Statistical Analysis Techniques and SDA Features  

The exercises are well structured, and Clawson and Oxley provide
very clear instructions on how to complete them. The questions included
in the exercises seek to balance interpretation and critical
thinking–helping students get at what the numbers tell us about the
relationship between two variables and why that relationship exists. I
like the hands-on approach, and I think the exercises address topics
that students will find interesting and engaging

Erin Cassese
West Virginia University

I think this book can help students experience the joy of
discovery firsthand. Rather than talking about how data can be used to
shed new insights on public opinion or refute hoary truths, Clawson and
Oxley show them how to find out such things on their own. Hearing a
professor say it or show it with slides is one thing, but doing it on
your own and waiting for the data to pop up online is a lot more fun,
informative, and powerful

Paul Goren
University of Minnesota

I found the text both straightforward and engaging, an often
difficult balance to strike for a text teaching basic research methods.
The explanations in the workbook are very clear-it walks students
through each step and reinforces content with multiple examples. I was
also quite impressed with the balance between skill development and
substance. The explanations of how to perform analyses and the
exercises are well grounded in both the substance of politics and
well-established research areas in political science

Laurie Rice
Southern Illinois University

This practice book accompanying a handbook by Clawson & Oxley is potentially useful for courses of at least one semester long, in my view. As much as I tried to make it part of my course for undergraduates, I found that many exercises in the book required good knowledge of the US political context and/or good command of English, which would be a bit of an extra for international students having their introductory course on public opinion. However, one can never know; I might consider it again next year.

Dr Anna Shirokanova
Faculty of Sociology, State Univ -Higher School of Economics
March 2, 2016

Preview this book

For instructors

Review and Desk copies for this title are available digitally via VitalSource.

Request e-review copy

If you require a print review copy, please call: (800) 818-7243 ext. 6140 or email

Select a Purchasing Option

Electronic version
Prices from
*180 day rental